Food pilot program Medicaid draws mixed reviews


Illustrated by Aida Amer/Axios

Proponents, analysts and policymakers have mixed reviews of the Biden administration’s move to allow states to use Medicaid funds. for food.

Important reasons: While some are happy that Medicaid will be available as an additional tool to address food insecurity and diet-related health conditions, others see expanding programs like SNAP as a priority. . The looming cliff of hunger.

What they say: “Medicaid already covers a lot of lifelong drugs and treatments. You have to pay for meals the same way you pay for statins, insulin, and other lifelong drugs,” said the Boston-based firm. said Adam Shyevitch, chief program officer for the health food nonprofit. About Freshsays to Axios.

  • Alice Reznicova, a multidisciplinary scientist who studies food and nutrition security for the Coalition of Concerned Scientists, said: Medicaid funding for groceries It’s the latest in a ‘patchwork’ of nutritional benefits across institutions and programs.
  • “This shows that more and more attention is being paid to ensuring nutrition,” says Řezníčková.

Opposite side: Medicaid pilot could be new source of reassurance as pandemic-era SNAP expands food benefits expired According to Parker Gilkesson, senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), policymakers calling for SNAP cuts should not use it as an excuse.

  • “Anything that helps fortify your nutrition is important.” “Try to use the change as a reason to stop SNAP,” says Gilkesson, who specializes in SNAP and Medicaid.
  • Similarly, Řezníčková hopes that existing programs like SNAP won’t get the attention and funding from pilots.

State of play: Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Oregon received approval in the fall. Section 1115 Waiver From the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) test program LEVERAGE FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING health-related social needs.

  • Content varies by state, but includes nutritional counseling, cooking supplies, and meal delivery.

Yes, but: “Not everyone who enrolls in Medicaid receives these innovative services,” says Suzanne Wikle, a Medicaid expert and senior policy analyst at CLASP.

  • Each state has a “specified population” receiving these services, such as those who are pregnant with certain conditions, those with certain chronic conditions, or those who are in a particularly vulnerable stage of life, Wikle said e-mail. She also mentioned in an email that the pilot has a time limit.
  • Additionally, starting April 1, states will be able to reopen Medicaid deregistrations, so millions of Medicaid enrollees could soon face loss of benefits. Warning Kaiser Family Foundation.

in the meantime: In an email to Axios, Shyevitch said the Medicaid pilot was “welcome and exciting,” but said CMS “imposed seemingly arbitrary restrictions to minimize the impact of such prescriptions.” I am concerned that

  • SNAP and other benefits developed to increase food purchasing power are a cornerstone for addressing national food insecurity, but “caregivers need more targeted tools,” he said. says.

Zoom out: food insecurity linked to higher health care use and spending.

  • Advances in research on “food is medicine” intervention suggests that approach Medically conditioned meals, medically conditioned groceries, produce subscriptions, etc. risk of chronic disease.
  • Alyssa Wassang, executive director of the Food is Medicine Coalition, a nonprofit network of medically conditioned meal providers, tells Axios she is encouraged by the prospect of being able to use Medicaid funds for meals. .
  • “What we’re seeing is states paying attention to the power of ‘food as medicine’ and administrations paying attention to it in a whole new way,” says Wassang.

What we see: of Medicaid pilot for groceries Farm Bill Nutrition Battle In this Congress, as Republicans and Democrats prepare, collision that’s all food stamp foundation.

  • “Sometimes in Washington, bright and shiny things get a lot of attention and sometimes a lot of funding,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson (R., Pennsylvania). Said Wall Street Journal.
  • “Let’s see what we need.”

To the point: Medicaid funds used for dietary programs may enhance nutrition in important ways, [it’s] It’s not the same way we give people purchasing power,” Gilkesson told Axios.

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